Verner Panton, the “enfant terrible” of Danish design, broke a few hundred years of tradition he denounced the age old crafts of his countrymen and sought to carve a new path in not only Danish but world design.
Panton was extremely conscientious and refreshingly holistic in his approach to design, taking on everything from the curtains to the lighting. With his visionary, colourful home furnishings, Panton sought ways to fashion a stylistically uniform, imaginative interior. Taking advantage of the new technologies of the post-war era, Panton experimented and used untraditional materials like plastics, fibre glass, Perspex, steel, foam rubber and other synthetic materials to create his own unique design language, where his uncompromising exploration of form, colour and light resulted in a number of all-time design classics. Speaking about his work in 1969 Panton gave amazing insight into his unusual, almost child-like thinking process, saying “I can’t bear to enter a room and see the sofa and coffee table and two chairs, immediately knowing that we are going to be stuck here for an entire evening. I made furniture that could be raised and lowered in space so that one could have a different view of surroundings and a new angle on life.” Here we will take a closer look at two of his most famous works of genius.
The first is piece a simple chair. Panton was the first in the world to create a form-moulded chair in plastics without any joints. His plastic Panton chair, a one-piece cantilevered design made in an amazing array of candy-apple colours, was the first form-moulded chair in the world without any joints. Not only is it the most iconic and most immediately recognizable of Verner Panton’s works, but without doubt one of the most important pieces of design of any kind of the 20th century. It has spawned more copies and duplications than probably any other item of furniture in history and was both the catalyst and reference point for all modern design. Its universal popularity means it has been in production continuously since 1967, and its sinuous shape has become synonymous with 1960’s pop culture and latterly, the modern-retro movement. frequently seen on television and in style magazines, the Panton chair is a must-have for today’s style conscious homeowner, whether used as outdoor seating or juxtaposed in a traditional dining room set-up, it will always steal the show.
The second design classic we will look at is the Arca lamp. Based on the roadside lighting of the early twentieth century, Panton’s Arca lamp is, like the chair, the most famous in its category. Still in production today the Arca is surged in popularity in recent years as homeowners become increasingly style conscious and better informed. Comprising of a solid marble base (available in black or white), connected to an aluminium neck which rises to over two metres before it meets the spherical head- also made of aluminium. The lightweight make-up of both neck and head allow the lamp to cantilever into a huge graceful curve over a chosen area- it is the last word in elegance and modernity.
Though first designed over forty years ago, both the Panton chair and Arco lamps are still as yet unsurpassed in their respective engineering and design brilliance. A home without at least one is an opportunity missed.